Junior Fair BBQ again a big success Beulah B James Senior Profile: Josie Myers Lady Indians place second at Ohio Classic in Hillsboro MVCA dominates Greyhounds in 45-0 triumph For Lady Devils, SHAC streak goes to 55 matches 9/11: Sixteen years later Gertrude Gibson Defender Bowl coming Sept. 16 Joyce A Walker Virginia R Young Senior Profile: Abby Campton West Union hosts 2017 Dragon Run New gridiron history begins for Peebles Trout, fire, and blueberry fields forever Senior Profile: Baylee Justice Lady Devils win SHAC thriller at Eastern Brown From Blue Creek to the Beaneaters Tough loss for Greyhounds in season opener Turning tragedy into hope What we learn from failure Absolutely had to get the wrinkles out Frances S Kidder Leo Trotter 41st Bentonville Festival set to begin Sept. 8 Winchester celebrates its history during three-day street fair Cruisefest returning to streets of Peebles Blue Creek- a community in transition honors its history and heritage Cuteness Galore – Winchester Homecoming Festival Baby Show Ronnie L Day Cast your vote for the Adams County Fairgrounds Nelson E Atkinson Ryan L Colvin Richard Tackett William L Tadlock Penny Pollard Wendell Beasley West Union soccer drops pair at Mason County Lady Indians go down in straight sets Senior Profile: Michael Gill Senior Profile: Katie Sandlin Royals dominate in big win over North Adams Dragons continue County Cup domination Archaeology Day returns to Serpent Mound Hourglass Quilt Square is back up again Manchester family hosts International Guests History, farming, and family- the bedrock of Cherry Fork’s community Bus drivers, emergency responders prepare for coming school year Working up a real good sweat What’s behind the motive? Rondal R Bailey Jr Thelma J Yates She’s all grown up now Scott A Yeager Soccer talent on display at 2017 SHAC preview Baseball community mourns the loss of Gene Bennett Winchester Homecoming Festival is Aug 25-27 Eleanor P Tumbleson Felicity man killed in Ohio River boating accident WUHS golfers take Portsmouth Invitational It was pretty cold that day Volleyball kicks off with SHAC Preview Night Young awarded Women’s Western Golf Foundation Scholarship One Mistake Senator Portman visits GE Test Facility in Peebles Adams County school districts facing some major challenges for the coming year Family, friends, and roots: the ties that bind residents of one Adams County village What is your strength? Just the chance to take a look back Ronnie L Wolford Dale J Marshall Herbert Purvis Great American Solar Eclipse coming Aug. 21 BREAKING NEWS: West Union wins fifth consecutive County Cup Wallace B Boden John L Fletcher Lady Indians golfers learning the links North Adams, West Union golfers open 2017 seasons This Labor Day, ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ Blanton announces candicacy for Court of Appeals Local student attends Congress of Future Medical Leaders MHS welcomes new principal Made in America When it feels like you’re spinning plates Bonfires and “building” a farm Lady Devils looking to take that next step 50 years of Bengal memories Ag Society delivers donation to Dragonfly Foundation Young Memorial Scholarship awarded to a pair of local seniors ‘Musical passion is in his blood’ Naylor named NAHS Principal Boldman retiring after 17 years as Homeless Shelter director Manchester concludes another River Days celebration Drug Treatment vs. Prison James R Brown Bobby Lawler Jr Adams County man charged with killing estranged girlfriend Lexie N Hopkins Volleyball, soccer previews coming this weekend Michael A Cheek

Is stone mulch better than wood mulch?

Our garden center sells quite a bit of bulk stone mulch, particularly to landscapers who do commercial projects. Washed river stone of one-inch (pebbles) and two-inch diameter (cobbles) has been popular for many years in places like office parks and fast-food restaurants, because it reduces the need for regular weeding and mulching for the first few years after it’s installed. Personally, I would never use it on my own landscape, however it’s worth a discussion of the pros and cons.

Stone mulch should always be applied over weed barrier fabric. If care is taken to keep it free of organic debris like grass clippings, dirt, leaves, bird droppings etc. it will remain weed-free for several years, and won’t need re-mulching each year like wood mulches. It keeps its color, doesn’t wash onto pavement or lawn areas, and looks quite sharp in certain types of plantings. But is it good for plants?

Let’s assume that, before planting and mulching, you take the trouble to thoroughly till your beds. We call this “adding air” or “making fluffy dirt”, and it’s the secret ingredient for healthy plants. Spreading stone mulch adds tons and tons of weight on top, quickly squeezing the air out of the soil and suffocating plants. Simply spreading weed barrier fabric on hard-packed soil and cutting planting holes in it isn’t healthy for plants, and their growth will be restricted.

Years from now, once stone mulch has become polluted with wind-blown weed seeds, it will be twice as hard to pull the weeds. Some stone mulches, particularly lava rock and white marble chips, are only practical in very clean setting like pool decks and parking lot islands. Lava rock attracts clippings and debris like Velcro. Once the stone is dirty and full of weeds, the fix is to dig up and remove tons of stone. It can’t be simply tilled into the soil like wood mulch. Colonizing perennials and groundcovers won’t take over and cover it.

We like to say that whatever you add on top of your landscape each year, that’s what your soil will become. Some wood mulches, pine bark in particular, are very beneficial to plants and improve your soil over time, provided you don’t put a layer of plastic fabric between the mulch and the soil below. Weed barrier fabrics will prevent existing weeds or sprouted weed seeds from coming up, however they do nothing to prevent windblown weed seeds, bird droppings etc from sprouting on top of the mulch. They also prevent the natural process of soil mixing with mulch, so mulch will pile up on top of the fabric and have to be removed.

So, what’s the answer to weed control in landscape beds? First and most important, prepare your beds by killing all the existing weeds and grasses beforehand. Glyphosate (Roundup) will kill most weeds in a week or so. Stubborn weeds like wild violet, nutgrass, ground ivy and clovers may need special weed killers. Only when every last weed is dead toast is it time to till and plant. After planting, you need to apply enough mulch to smother any leftover weed seeds. The best weed control is complete darkness, so three inches of mulch is a minimum. Then you need to renew your mulch every year in March or April, before weeds start to take over.

Sound complicated? Then perhaps stone mulch over weed barrier fabric is for you.

Steve Boehme and his wife Marjorie own GoodSeed Nursery & Landscape, located at 9736 Tri-County Highway, near Winchester, Ohio. More information is available at www.goodseedfarm.com or call (937) 587-7021.

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